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Essay On Rural Development In Assam

This essay provides information about rural development in India!

The concept of rural development is quite comprehensive and extensive. G. Shah defines rural development as “the development of rural areas, often rural development has meant the extension of irrigation facilities, expansion of electricity, improvement in the techniques of cultivation, construction of school building and provision of educational facilities, health care etc.”

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This is considered to be a lop-sided view of understanding rural development. Of late, rural development signifies a complex and long term process involving fundamental transformation of rural society both at social and economic levels. It represents planned programmes to improve the quality of the life-style of the ruralites.

Components of Rural Development:

Rural development entails some components. They are as follows:

1. Rural development seeks to transform all the sectors of rural economy – the primary sector, the secondary sector and the tertiary sector.

2. It is concerned with the improvement of the standard of living of the ruralites through the provision of health and medical facilities, employment opportunities including vocational training, educational facilities etc.

3. It brings about significant improvement in the socio-economic conditions of the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, the landless agricultural labourers and the marginal and small fanners.

Essential Aspects of Rural Development:

The essential aspects of rural development are as follows:

1. Agricultural development constitutes the crucial aspect of rural development. Agricultural development is possible through the use of better seeds, adequate fertilisers, manures, and pesticides, adequate supply of water and effective implementation of land reform measures.

2. By effecting changes in the socio-economic institutions, rural development seeks to change the socio-economic structure of the rural community.

3. The effectiveness of the rural development programmes necessitates political non-interference. The persons associated with these programmes should be given adequate freedom to carry out their plans and programmes with undivided attention.

4. The success of the rural development programmes depends on the co-operative orientation and attitude among the ruralites. The functioning of the co-operative societies goes a long way in improving the conditions of the vulnerable sections of the rural set-up.

5. Rural development programmes demand the active participation of the ruralites. While formulating these programmes the opinions, attitudes, drives and interests of the rural people should be taken into account. Further, dedicated and committed village leaders should come forward to guide the masses for bringing about rural development.

Integrated Rural Development:

It is claimed that the concept of Integrated Rural Development was originally propounded by the World Bank. In India the concept was put forward in the year 1976 at the All-India Science Congress by C. Subramanyam, the then Finance Minister of India.

He viewed integrated rural development as “systematic, scientific and integrated use of all our natural resources and as a part of this process enabling every person to engage himself in a productive and socially useful occupation and earn an income that would meet at least the basic needs.”

He holds the view that the use of natural resources is possible only through the application of science and technology. Further, proper application of science and technology results in the fulfilment of basic social needs.

G. Parthasarathy refers to four ‘routes’ in the context of integrated rural development: (i) the institutional route of Gunnar Myrdal, (ii) the ‘New Economics’ route, (iii) the Neo-Marxian route and (iv) the Gandhian route. V.K.R.V. Rao defines integrated rural development as “the optimum utilization of the natural and human resources of a given rural area for the enrichment of the quality of life of the population.”

The concept of integrated rural development addresses itself to various rural problems like widespread poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, exploitation, inequitable distribution of land, poor health conditions etc. It signifies that various facets of rural development are integrally connected.

It is a holistic concept rather than a sequential one. K. Om Prakash and G. Satyanarayan rightly observe that integrated rural development embraces all the activities of enrichment and betterment of the overall quality of rural life through appropriate development of man power, resources, infrastructural facilities and provisions of minimum needs and livelihood. It has far-reaching socio­economic and political implications for the life of the ruralites.

Panchayat and Rural Development Department in Assam

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The governing body of Panchayat and Rural Development Department in Assam operates with two important wings namely the Panchayat Wing and the Rural Development Wing. A number of welfare programs funded by various other states have been introduced for the execution of these two wings.

Such programs organized by the Assam Panchayat and Rural Development Department works through a number of networks such as 219 Development Blocks, 20 Zilla Parishads, and 2487 Gaon Panchayats. Panchayati Raj Institution came into power right after the Panchayati election after which the Zilla Parishad, the Gaon Panchayat, and the Anchalik Panchayat were formed. The Panchayati Raj Institution appoints the Local Self Government for the execution of various programs.

The Panchayat wing of the Panchayat and Rural Development Department in Assam largely deals with the Panchayati Raj Institutions and state plan schemes for small-scale sectors. These state plan schemes focus upon the improvement of the roads of rural regions, facilitating proper irrigation works such as digging of canals, health and sanitation facilities, and setting up of ring well or tube well. The Panchayat and Rural Development now run the National Social Assistance Programme, which was started off by the Social Welfare Development in Assam. Some of the rural development programs that have been designed under the Panchayat and Rural Development Department in Assam are as follows:

  • Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) - This programme is exclusively designed to ensure a range of self-employment opportunities. This includes employing the rural youths into various activities in terms of training, credit, infrastructure, technology, and marketing. The chief aim of this program is to help out the rural poor to overcome the poverty line by providing them with sources of income and facilities like bank loans and government subsidy. A special SGSY programme was designed for the development of Eri and Muga industry of Assam in eight handpicked districts namely, Goalpara, Dhubri, Kamrup, Lakhimpur, Kokrajhar, Karbi-Anglong and Golaght. The banks provided funds to 171 Self-Help Groups that constituted of 1775 Swarojgaries in total. The projects that were planned for execution under these Self-Help Groups include twenty community centers for spinning and weaving, twenty centers for reeling and spinning for Muga, eighteen centers for seed production for Muga, and five yard-cum-training centers. The special SGSY project also involves uplifting of rural weavers for the development of Economic Empowerment of Rural Women. A set of hand loom sectors would be set up in three districts namely Nalbari, Barpeta and Darrang where the women weavers would get an opportunity to earn their livings.

  • Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana - This project was planned to take care of the employment crisis faced by the rural youths residing below poverty line. The secondary objective of this program is to ensure social and economic assets, which will be durable, and community based to the rural poor. This particular program of SGRY also plays an important role in the uplifting of the SC and ST classes.

  • Indira Awaas Yojana - This program was empowered for the housing development for the rural poor especially the SC and ST classes of people.

  • Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (Rural Shelter) - The five areas that were fully taken care of under the PMGY are primary health, rural shelters, primary education, rural drinking water, and nutrition. This program is fully financed by the state government.

  • Integrated Wasteland Development Programme (IWDP) - This program was designed to improve the socio-economic condition of the state by developing the drought prone lands, wastelands, and the debauched lands.
Panchayat and Rural Development Department in Assam also takes a note of the food and supply department and ensures that a proper nutrition for the employed rural poor along with their families is provided.

last Updated 25/05/2011

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